Russia Should Play Important Role in Caucasus EU Experts Say

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"The European Union should help Russia rely on its forces–in particular–in the South Caucasus," Javier Solana–ex-NATO Secretary General and current EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policies said in his recent statement in Stockholm.

According to EU foreign policy experts–the development of political and economic relations between South Caucasus countries and the European Union–as well as the cooperation within NATO military partnership programs should not downplay Russia’s role in the region.

It is important that open interaction of South Caucasus countries with the European Union and NATO-member countries should not be taken by Russia as a display of animosity. They consider that simultaneously with increase in EU’s and NATO-member states’ influence in the region–Russia will maintain its significant role.

The recent creation of the Office of High Representative for Foreign and Security Policies under the EU umbrella will undoubtedly have its impact on the Caucasus region. The European Union is seeking to take care of its security itself–without breaking its relations with the United States.

The United States is not always willing to play a leading role in Europe. Currently–there are 100,000 US servicemen in Europe. The United States insist that Europe should take more responsibilities in defense and security areas–on condition that the transatlantic ties are not broken and duplicating organization created.

"You will have troops on the land of Europeans–political control exercised by Europeans and an opportunity to use NATO resources," Solana said in his interview.

During his last visit to the region Solana stressed the importance of regional cooperation–opening of borders–which–according to him–will ensure stability and prosperity in the region. To raise security level in the region it is not necessary to be a part of a military organization.

EU believes that the creation of solid and broad system of relations among the countries of the South Caucasus through practical cooperation with NATO–political dialogue and trade and economic cooperation with EU–will automatically raise the security level.

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